Thursday, June 15, 2006

Penrith Survival Tin

A survival kit usually contains the absolute bare essentials that one (usually a soldier) would need if he/she reaches a point where to keep alive he/she only has nature in its rawest natural form to provide for the "bare necessities of life". Most of the good kits are put together by experts (usually the department of defense of the respective country) for the forces (Army, Navy or the Air Force). Since these kits are usually meant for soldiers and have to be mass produced while keeping the cost low, one finds a delicate balance between cost, essentials and quality. Stuff put in these boxes has to have a low cost but at the same has to be dependable at the time of need.

Well that was the laymans version of the background for a survival kit. But, today one finds survival kits for camping, travel even weekend survival kits for fun. I stumbled upon a survival kit when I decided to go on a long solo hike and started pondering over the "must haves" in case of an emergency. I decided to come up with my own list of essentials based on the best of all the the good kits out there.. well in theory that was the plan. Well I didn't go for the solo hike but ended up with the Penrith Survival Tin. I compared the contents of 5 kits - Combat Survival kit, Military survival kit, The Ultimate Survival kit (UK), the Ultimate Survival kit (USAF) and the Penrith Survival tin. The first four are from BCB International.

I also looked up Doug Ritter's Pocket Survival Pak from "Equipped To Survive" which has recieved a lot of acclaim as being the Ultimate Survival kit. Maybe it is, maybe not I am not sure. But, it failed to impress me as a whole (maybe without good reason). It does have some items which are worth having especially the Spark lite firestarter and the signal mirror is of really good quality. Overall the reason I chose the Penrith survival tin was that it had most of the items of the other survival tins, with smallest size, decent quality and an unbeatable price. And ofcource there is always the possibility of replacing or adding stuff as an improvement. One should keep in mind though, that it is very tightly packed and has very little space for additions (See above). One crucial thing that it lacks is a whistle, which is present in almost all kits that I have seen so far. Second, I will most definitely be replacing the cotton tinder with "tinder card" or just cut and add a few pieces to it. Replace the water tablets with Katadyn Micropur M1 tablets. Add an analgesic/painkiller, some antibiotic and some triple antibiotic cream. One thing that was present in this tin in the earlier versions but seems to have been replaced with a fishing line is a braided nylon line which is a "semi" pity (actually both would have been good).

One other thing that according to me is a "bare essential" for any camping trip not usually a part of the survival kit is an insect repellent. Don't leave home without one or pray to "whomever you pray to" -- not to get caught into a survival situation with mosquitos. To suggest a good insect repellent which comes in a small package, originally designed for the military, with a name you can trust is -- 3M's Ultrathon - its good. People may differ with me as this being a bare essential for survival, but if you get your blood sucked every now and then without respite, believe me you would rather want to kill yourself than survive.

Do lookup Don Rearic's review of the Penrith Tin which is more comprehensive. Nice to know some one out there holds a similar view.

Also one needs to mention that this kit was modeled over the survival book by John "Lofty" Wiseman which by itself is a great buy. Finally to restate this statement that you may read whenever you read reviews of survival kits -- "This may just save your life".

Available from
T.A.D. Gear Inc. - $29.95

Mfg's Site
Penrith Survival Equipment - £19.00


Don said...

Thanks for the kind words about the review on my website.



Dev's Lab said...

You are most welcome. Also thank you for looking up my blog.


elpidi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
elpidi said...

I've been doing a little bit of research and can't find a cheap source to buy more of the containers (test tubes?) like the one which houses the potassium permanganate (want to house more of the medical equipment mentioned by John 'Lofty' Wiseman in his book). Any suggestions on where to look?

Dev's Lab said...

You know what - I my self searched a lot online for a container similar to the one in the tin - with similar results.

You can try some of the containers available at like the Micro Drop plus bottle (remove the dropper spout)

But, they are not transparent and obviously not a proper substitute.

You may also look at some plastic test tubes used for centrifuge. These are the ones that come closest.

Dev's Lab said...

elpidi said...

Thanks for the websites Dev. Man, those are a little too pricey for me...I ended up submitting the question to the Penrith manufacturer directly on how to procure the tubes. Hopefully, this will help.

Thanks again.

elpidi said...

Thanks for the websites Dev. Man, those are a little too pricey for me...I ended up emailing the Penrith manufacturer directly on how I might be able to procure some of the tubes that house the KMnO4. Hopefully this helps.

Thanks again!!!

elpidi said...

Hey Dev, I just got a response back from the Penrith manufacturer. Here is the reply:

You can purchase the tubes, as used in the Survival Kit, direct for ourselves price 30p each plus postage.

Postage cost would be £2.00 for up to 10 tubes.

Order would have to be placed direct as they are not on web site either email or telephone 017683 51666.



Anonymous said...

hi merry xmas to every one - matt